Book Reviews -- Writing and Publishing

I've been doing reviews of books on writing and publishing for a few weeks now, so it's time to get them organized in one place before I have too much of a mess. These are all books I've read and felt were useful. Any book I can't recommend, I just won't review, so the average star rating is going to be pretty high.

Click through to the individual reviews for more info, including the book's table of contents, so you can see what it covers in detail.


Becoming an Every Day NovelistBecoming an Every Day Novelist by J. Daniel Sawyer

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

A nice variety of advice, organized in thirty days worth of chunks. Aimed at writers who want to write a novel in a month. Read the review.

Writing Fantasy HeroesWriting Fantasy Heroes edited by Jason M. Waltz

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

A collection of essays by various writers. My main issue was that the title says "fantasy heroes" but in actuality the focus was on the Conan-type barbarian warrior, with a couple of exceptions. If you write the Conan-type, there'll be a lot in this book for you. If you write other kinds of fantasy heroes, there'll be some useful info, but not as much. Read the review.

Writing to the PointWriting to the Point by Algis Budrys

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is another classic book about writing, by someone who was well known in the mid- to late-twentieth century as a writer, an editor, and a writing teacher. Read the review.


DIY E-Book Covers: Design Principles for Non-DesignersDIY E-Book Covers: Design Principles for Non-Designers by Roz Marshall

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is not a step-by-step, click-this-and-drag-that book on how to create your own e-book cover. Rather, this is an overview of what a good cover should look like, with discussions of different design elements and techniques. Read the review.

How to Write Fiction Sales CopyHow to Write Fiction Sales Copy by Dean Wesley Smith

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Dean Wesley Smith is one of the gurus of indie publishing. This is very much a down-in-the-trenches sort of book. It's heavy on concrete examples, with just enough theory to help you see what's going on. Read the review.

Zen of Ebook FormattingZen of Ebook Formatting by Guido Henkel

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The bible of hand coding, for indie publishing writers who want to hand code their book files. Lots of great info, with details. Code samples scattered throughout. Read the review.


Business Planning For Professional PublishersBusiness Planning For Professional Publishers by Leah Cutter

My rating: 5 of 5 stars for less business-oriented writers

A writer and publisher explains how to create a less formal business plan, for writers who don't think in spreadsheets. Lots of good info and organizational advice. Reviewed in conjunction with The Writer's Business Plan. Read the review.

Estate Planning for AuthorsEstate Planning for Authors by M.L. Buchman(s)

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Matt Buchman is one of the most organized, business-oriented writers I know. He opened my eyes to what's needed and how to set it all up when it comes to estate planning, and making sure your heirs have what they need to manage your literary estate. Read the review.

Managing Your Inner Artist/WriterManaging Your Inner Artist/Writer by M.L. Buchman(s)

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

A book by two artists, a writer and a photographer, on how to be businesslike with the business of your art, while letting your artist side do art without getting bogged down with business concerns. Short and dense, in a good way. Read the review.

The Nine Worst Provisions in Your Publishing ContractThe Nine Worst Provisions in Your Publishing Contract by David P. Vandagriff

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

A lawyer with contract experience talks about the really bad stuff publishers will try to get you to sign. Vital for anyone going tradpub. Read the review.

The Write AttitudeThe Write Attitude by Kristine Kathryn Rusch

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This book looks at how the way you think about writing and publishing can affect how you write and how you do business. Having the wrong attitude can kill your writing and/or your business faster than anything else. Definitely worth a read for any writer. Read the review.

The Writer's Business PlanThe Writer's Business Plan by Tonya Price

My rating: 4 of 5 stars for more business-oriented writers

This is a book written by a writer with an MBA on how to produce a formal business plan, oriented toward indie publishing writers. Lots of info, includes worksheets. Reviewed in conjunction with Business Planning for the Professional Publisher. Read the review.


Rejection, Romance and RoyaltiesRejection, Romance and Royalties by Laura Resnick

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Laura Resnick is a multi-genre writer who's been making her living at this writing thing for quite a while. She's written regular columns for the official publications of multiple writers' organizations, and this book is a collection of columns on a variety of topics. They were all written for an audience of writers, and I've enjoyed this book very much, enough to read it more than once. Read the review.

Write with FireWrite with Fire by Charles Allan Gramlich

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book is a stack of essays collected together into a book. I enjoy reading this kind of writing book, because it feels like sitting down with another writer and listening to them talk shop. "This is important, and this is useful, and oh, this funny thing happened to me, and here's what I learned from it. And whatever you do, do not do this, because this is what happened when I did it and it wasn't fun at all...." That kind of thing. Read the review.

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